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Kyle Orton signs with Buffalo Bills

EJ Manuel could face competition at quarterback in Buffalo after all.

The Buffalo Bills signed free-agent quarterback Kyle Orton, the team announced.

NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported on Saturday's edition of NFL Total Access that it's a two-year contract, and Orton could earn more than $5 million in Year 1. That's on par with what the Bucs are paying Josh McCown and suggests Orton will play at some point.

The journeyman quarterback was last with the Dallas Cowboys, who released him after he threatened to retire all offseason. There was always a sense Orton just wanted off the team, and this signing proves it.

Orton seems much older than 31 years old because he's started for so many teams: Chicago, Denver, Kansas City and Dallas. He's not going to save any franchise, but he could be a competent alternative to Manuel once he gets up to speed on Doug Marrone's offense.

The Bills started the offseason saying that they were open to any option at quarterback, but they wound up not truly challenging Manuel, their second-year starter. Thad Lewis, Jordan Palmer and Jeff Tuel have taken cracks behind Manuel this offseason. None of those QBs remain on the roster.

Manuel, meanwhile, had perhaps the most discouraging preseason of any young quarterback in the league. We doubt Orton would have returned to the league without a good salary, and he knows that there's a chance he'll wind up starting games in Buffalo.

These are desperate times at quarterback in Buffalo, and this move has a strong whiff of desperation.

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